Sneaky Possum may be the new kid on Abercrombie Street, but the multi-purpose venue has already become a local haunt for many. The space does all things at once, seamlessly acting as a cafe, bar and restaurant throughout the day and night.
The back dining room hosts groups hanging over a few bevs just as often as it does diners, with the casual space boasting custom-built timber booths, hanging greenery and large murals. Along the way, pass by modern pinball machines and retro arcade games. The front cafe doubles as a bar throughout the day, with patrons drinking their flat whites alongside punters enjoying a cheeky arvo craft brew, wine on tap or cocktail from their antique glassware. The current cocktail list includes a particularly solid lemon myrtle margarita ($20) and a spiced rum espresso martini ($22) that is a go-to for late night revellers but serves equally well as a midday pick-me-up.
The bar looks over the open kitchen where head chef Briony Bradford shows off her culinary muscles, which really shine for dinner service. For starters, the snapper ceviche ($22) uses seasonal finger lime in a punchy yet delicate dish, with the avocado creme, bright fish roe and edible flowers giving it a bit of decadence. The crispy pork belly ($27) is our favourite on the menu and could easily be eaten as a main — the meaty scallop it's served with is a proper pairing for the tender pork belly. The dish is topped with shaved and dehydrated cauliflower, spinach purée and burnt butter jus, with each component complementing the other.
If you do still dig into mains, share the duck breast ($40), which is roasted in paperbark and is accompanied by a duck sausage that is unlike any we've had previously — the average idea of sausage sizzles does not do this one justice. It's all creatively topped with thinly-shaved fresh pumpkin that lightens the dish. It's a real pleasure to eat. Bradford clearly knows what she's doing when it comes to meat, with the roasted lamb rump ($36) served true to medium rare and accompanied by on-the-vine roasted tomatoes.
Even the bar snacks are far from average, like the goats' cheese crackers topped with dehydrated olives ($4). You can easily spend the entire night at the bar, snacking on charcuterie and cheese plates or just some warm Sonoma bread, served with butter and rock salt.
It's easy to tell Bradford puts love into her dishes and you'll have to resist the temptation to lick the plate more than once.
Images: Katje Ford.